“Fear makes us look for someone to blame, throw up our hands in defeat, and give in to a victim mentality. Faith chooses to face the challenge with hope in a brighter tomorrow.” ~ Penny Hunt
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The Annunciation is generally celebrated on March 25th. However, March 25th was in the midst of Holy Week this year and, therefore, the celebration was delayed until Holy Week and the Octave of Easter were complete. This is the first opportunity to celebrate the Solemnity and thus we do so today.
If anyone had the opportunity to fear, it would have been Mary. One evening, while in prayer, an angel appeared to her. That was a big deal. A very big deal. Because, in those days, if an angel appeared to anyone, chances were real good that the person would be in mortal jeopardy. When angels appeared, people often died.
When the angel appeared to Mary, the very first words out of Gabriel’s mouth were, “Do not be afraid.” You know, I am not sure I would have bought that. The angel may have told me not to be afraid but I would think that it would probably have been too late. I would already be petrified with fear. Then, the angel Gabriel gave Mary even more reason to fear: he invited Mary to accept God’s invitation to be the mother of God’s Son.
Mary was betrothed to Joseph. She had been promised to him and to no other. Mary and Joseph had not lived together yet. Mary would have had no earthly reason to become pregnant. If she did become pregnant, Joseph would conclude that someone else had engaged in sexual activity with Mary. Joseph would be well within his rights to have Mary stoned to death.
A pregnancy out of wedlock was a big deal. A very big deal. Mary did not seem to have a chance at a winning answer. If she said no to the angel — and therefore to God — she would not be the humble maidservant that she was trying to be. Yet, if she said yes to God, it would look to Joseph as if Mary had betrayed him.
Mary did not look for anyone to blame. She did not throw up her hands in defeat. She did not adopt a victim mentality. Instead, she chose to face the challenge with hope for a brighter future. She said yes to God knowing that God would take care of the situation.
We live our lives in a variety of settings. Sometimes, we are on emotional highs. Other times, we are brought quite low. Sometimes, we live quite confidently. Other times, we live in fear. God would tell us not to be afraid. In our good times and in our bad times, in our highs and in our lows, in our confidence and in our fear, God can always be found. Mary was one of the people who showed that to us so beautifully in her faith-filled and humble “Yes” to God.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God to come to the aid of all who are crippled by their fears so that they can live in confidence.